It’s quite difficult to detect the signs of a mental health disorder because they may appear as normal body responses or emotional reactions to day-to-day activities. That’s why it’s a must to see a professional, a psychologist or a psychiatrist, like one from Open Sky Psychology, if you believe something is bothering you or you can’t seem to get away with a problem or a negative feeling.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of a possible mental health disorder.
Sleeplessness or Insomnia
There’s always a good reason why you can’t sleep or can’t get enough rest. Sleep problems like insomnia is a common manifestation of many mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and schizophrenia. Poor sleep can disrupt psychological and physical health, making you feel down, stressed, and worried.
Here are the correlations between sleep problems and mental illnesses:
- Sleep problems slow the recovery of people with mental disorders. For example, people with depression are less likely to respond to treatment if they also experience insomnia. Also, they have a higher risk of relapse than those patients without sleeping problems.
- Insomnia affects the ability of a person to process negative emotions with an emotional reaction to unpleasant images.
- Insomnia may exacerbate the signs and symptoms of people with depression, so cognitive behavior therapy or CBT treatment of insomnia is usually carried out to help improve sleep quality.
Sadness or Loneliness
Do you feel sad or lonely? Sadness is considered a universal human emotion, which is both unique and complex to every person. Sadness or loneliness can potentially damage a person’s state of mind, so immediate prevention and treatment are crucial to prevent progression to a severe mental health disorder.
People who feel lonely, alone, unwanted, and empty, is a major sign among people who are at risk of developing depression. For instance, a college student might feel lonely even if around peers and surrounded by roommates.
Here are the facts about loneliness and its relationship with mental illnesses:
- Loneliness is a psychological mechanism, prevalent in society, and experienced in families, marriages, relationships, and even people with successful careers.
- In the United States, approximately 60 million people feel lonely, which is 20% of the total population.
- In the UK research conducted by Age UK, it shows that half a million people who are 60 years old and above spend each day without social interaction or alone.
- Loneliness is intensified as modernization occurs and appears to be related to smaller household sizes, greater migration, senior citizens, and people who live in low-density suburbs.
- The negative effects of loneliness include physical and mental health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, alcoholism, the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, depression, suicidal tendencies, decreased memory, and altered brain function.
Feelings of Hopelessness and Agitation
If a person feels hopeless or always agitated, it’s likely that the individual is suffering from depression or a mood disorder. While different people experience depression in different ways, a depressed person feels sad, helpless, and hopeless.
Agitated depression is a distinct type of mental disorder, and agitation is also a symptom of mood disorders. Agitation causes a person to feel anxious and uneasy, along with angry outbursts, disruptive behavior, clenching fists, excessive talking, pacing or shuffling feet, wringing of the hands, tension, can’t sit still, can’t focus, or violent outbursts.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is a tool used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental health disorders, such as depression. Based on DSM-5, a person is suffering depression if the individual feels depressed or anhedonia which means a loss of interest in life, for at least two weeks or experiences at least five of the following signs and symptoms:
- Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or irritability daily
- Loss of pleasure or lack of interest in activities nearly every day
- Appetite loss or significant weight loss
- Sleeping excessively or difficulty sleeping
- Psychomotor agitation and restlessness
- Lack of energy or feeling fatigued almost every day
- Unexplained or excessive guilt or feeling worthlessness
- Difficult making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts
Obesity or Anorexia
There’s a common misconception that anorexia, binge-eating, or bulimia are a lifestyle choice. However, eating disorders are serious and are usually fatal illnesses associated with severe disturbances. Are you preoccupied with food or body weight? This behavior signals an eating disorder, which is also a mental health disorder.
It’s important to see a mental health professional if you feel that you or your loved ones are suffering from a psychological problem. Early prevention and treatment are essential. Healthy and people who think something is wrong with them both need a regular psychological and psychiatric evaluation to promote and maintain good mental health.